Jughead's Basement Podcast

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


     I hooked up one of my old Mac100 iomega zip drives to look through old documents.  I stumbled upon discs that had a few writing files on it that initiated the writing of Weasels In a Box.  One of the most influential aspects was the failed attempt of writing an article about The Lillingtons.  The other, which you will find below, came from the frustration of wanting to tour with Screeching Weasel instead of playing one-off shows for a half an hour like we had just done at The House Of Blues.  Here are the raw thoughts that inspired the book.  

PS. This was while Ben and I were still communicating.  The actual dissolution would happen quite a few years later.

Somewhere along the way the band, and my past along with it, became a fiction, and yet the memories still hold tightly to everything tangible.  It moves along side me.   For instance, everywhere I go, the logo of Screeching Weasel is stamped.  It’s a constant reminder seen on a tattooed leg or arm, on t-shirts, record covers, buttons.  It’s a mark of the bands influence.  There are t-shirts and buttons of other bands everywhere too, thousands of groups on television, here today, gone tomorrow, who will be more popular, more well known, more respected.  How many of these bands have their logo tattooed on bodies all over the world?  The comparative ratio of fans to tattoos must be in our favor in most cases.  What the fuck does it all mean?  Does it make the band partially responsible for any good or bad with which that logo marked person is associated?  It would have to indicate something as strong as that for me to get a tattoo.  There never has and never will be a tattoo on my body. (I have never had a piercing or even dyed hair either. A purist is what some people have called me.) I like looking at tattoos, but I can’t help but assume that they should represent something extremely important, a life changing influence that needs to be remembered forever, a period in life that is not to be forgotten by you or anyone who looks upon your symbol drilled into the skin with needles and permanent ink.  Does the Weasel logo just happen to look cool?  Anything that looks cool can be identically transfered to tattoo with the right tattoo tools and artist.  I believe the Weasel’s essence is hard to capture.  Is it my friend Paul Russel's artistic talent that allowed him to off-handedly draw a series of lines and shapes that somehow captured such a simple yet dynamic character that continues to have a strong everlasting charismatic affect on punk attitudes?  There is no denying that that original drawing of the Weasel had immense attitude.  But who’s attitude?  Paul's? The band's?  Paul’s interpretation of the band's?  The logo’s own independent attitude? Is it Ben's?  I don't think it noticeably resembles mine, on the surface.  Had Ben’s lyrics and both of our philosophies on individuality and the destroying of convention helped fans to cope with their frustrating social situations?  Does this come out in the permanent ink that lives on their body for the entirety of their life?  And what the fuck does that all mean?  Is this gestalt important enough to keep the band active for as long as it has been active?  Will Ben and I still feel strongly about these issues when we are no longer together?  We have known each other for over twenty years.  More than half of the band’s fans aren’t even that old!  By that age an individual has been affected by their families, friends, teachers, books, television and movies.  They have personalities distinct from each others no matter how imitative or insecure they float about the world.  We nurture and nature parts of ourselves that we can never change, even the active search for change becomes an element that manifests from prior influences.  Twenty years working together, sometimes as friends, business men, musicians, brothers, husband and wife, parents, schoolmates, never enemies but sometimes seeming so.  There is no real complete separation.  There is no end to the levels of complications.  
People attribute songs to me, but I have written none of them, except for small parts here and there.  Yet I do feel the rebellious yet humorous attitude that oozes from that logo is partially mine, is due to my hard work.  Can it honestly be said that I have had a noticeable influence?  This has been a troublesome silently contentious issue.
I have become more conscious of myself because the live performances are limited and I am getting older.  One of my largest grievances is losing the foolish spontaneity that made me feel alive and having it replaced with paperwork and explanations of why things are the way they are now.  If we play out once in a blue moon.  I need to make it memorable.  The pressure is immense.  I grasp on to whatever foolishness I have left, physicalizing the memories and magnifying the absurdities.

Ben has helped to make this tremendously difficult for me.

  Dealing with the complexities it would be easier just to say, I like this person, I don’t like this person.  But I can’t hate my friends, and I don’t want to love those who hurt me or prevent me from achieving goals.  But what if these goals are irrational or jealous to the point of hurting others?
  I am an alien, not because I don’t fit in, I am an alien because I choose to visit places where I do not belong.  I have very little in common with my punk associates.  What do I share besides a limited portion of my musical tastes?  I like to think it is the voicing of individuality, the pursuit of thinking for oneself - I call it a pursuit because along the way you often find that a choice you have made was not your own but an acceptance of a majorities perception, or of someone you admired or feared.  Hidden persuasions have ways of sneaking into our choices.  We do not fully know ourselves.  One of the most honest statements I had heard privately come from Ben’s own lips was, “There is hardly ever any real change in a person's character.”  And I add to that, “We just perceive ourselves as making monumental choices instead of facing the fact that we are acting in accordance with whom we already are.  
     I will make my audience the second person, because they are not me, and so they must be made to perceive themselves as what they are not, and cannot, be.

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